The Transparency Game: Government Information, Access, and Actionability

  • Orlin VakarelovEmail author
  • Kenneth Rogerson
Research Article


Democratic governments might be required by law to disseminate information to the people. This is called governmental transparency. What is the burden of transparency? We propose a “pragmatic information theory of communication” that places information accessibility as a foundation of transparency. Using a game model—the Transparency Game—we show that the pragmatic theory is the only one that makes it difficult for governments to appear transparent (transparency de vidi) while not actually being transparent (transparency de facto). There are two important consequences of understanding transparency through the theory: (1) Accessible information must be actionable, and (2) cognitive science plays a vital role in assessing the accessibility of information. These consequences can have implications for public policies that promote transparency.


Governmental information flows Governmental transparency Information access Information actionability Pragmatic information theory 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Sanford School of Public PolicyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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